Friday 16 July 2010

Deep breaths . . . and Henry Williamson

Flowers from my garden:

I have given myself the afternoon off. I am so sick of housework and Doing Things and I need a break. Plus one of the books I ordered for a penny from Amazon has arrived, so I have been sitting down reading it.

My bedtime reading recently has been a Henry Williamson novel I picked up (in a falling-apart paperback) in my travels. It is called The Dream of Fair Women and was first published in 1924, and is part of a tetrology under the encompassing title of The Flax of Dreams, which comprised: The Beautiful Years (1921), Dandelion Days (1922), The Dream of Fair Women (1924) and The Pathway (1928). The book I am reading feels autobiographical to a degree, certainly the character of Willie Maddison is a complex one, as was Williamson's.

He wrote a 15-book series of what are claimed to be largely auto-biographical novels A Chronicle of Ancient Sunlight which tell the life of Phillip Maddison. For more details: I can see I have a lot MORE books to be searching for now when I browse at car boot sales and charity shops and book shops . . . The latter series has just been reprinted, but at around £15 a book I think I will have to wait for books to turn up 2nd hand.

Is anyone else a Henry Williamson fan? It is a shame he is a forgotten author, apart from his works Tarka the Otter and Salar the Salmon. But perhaps no great surprise since he was a supporter of Oswald Mosely and an admirer of Hitler! His Fascism was ever held against him.

He was a contemporary of some of the writers I find so fascinating, having met Hardy right at the end of his life (Hardy might have been an Animal Rights activist had he lived today, as he took a dim view of Otter Hunting and told Williamson so), and corresponded with T E Lawrence, with whom he had a long friendship until the latter's death.

Attic view of my Kiftsgate rose as it has finally made it to freedom at the top of the Hawthorn tree in the corner of the garden.


  1. Another author for me to consider reading, as my list grows! I am reading the Patrick O'Brian series, am on no. 10. My dh and I bought all 20 in the wonderful series, most of them used.
    I am a follower of this blog and must ask "what are codlins?" I am a gardener far away in California and love to learn new things.

  2. BB - I shall look out for HW novels for you as I root around in the local charity shops.

    Good to hear that you are giving yourself a rest after such a hectic month or two.

  3. DW - bless you, much appreciated! I felt I'd earned the rest!!

    Terra - Codlins are an old sort of apple. Codlins and Cream is the name given to the Greater Willow Herb, which grows in my garden amongst the planted flowers and is so beautiful I let it stay, along with the Purple Loosestrife pictured above, and the Foxgloves . . . Tell me, do you ever get fed up with California sunshine?!

  4. Your flowers are lovely against that beautiful yellow cheery background. Glad you are being kind to yourself and listening to your inner voice.

    My Nan used to have Codlin Apples - the trees in her orchard were well over 60 years old as I understand it they are neither an eater or a cooker but an inbetweener and could be used either way. Didn'tknow about the Greater Willow Herb being given the name though. Love that sort of information.

    Hope you are okay

    Tricia aka pattypan

  5. I think we forget what hard work it is preparing a house for sale. The worst is yet to come, if you are packing yourselves (voice of experience LOL)
    Enjoy your rest and reading, you deserve it.